THIS IS PROBABLY THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BIT OF INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW.
When you plan on importing a vehicle, everyone wants to be sure the car is safe to drive and conforms to all current
Canadian specifications. There is a company contracted to ensure your vehicle conforms to these specifications. This
organization's mandate is to ensure all imported vehicles conform to these standards.
The Registrar of Imported Vehicles is authorized to enforce Transport Canada regulartions. RIV as it is commonly known,
is not a Canadian government agency. It is a third party company contracted to oversee and ensure all imported vehicles
conform to all aspects of Transport Canada regulations. They check for daytime running lights, if the vehicle has a child
anchor system (for childseats) and other requirements.
These standards and regulations change on a regular basis. The entry requirements should be checked and confirmed
carefully. I strongly suggest you reconfirm prior to your export from the US.
If you are fortunate to live near the RIV office in Ontario, you may be able to visit them in person. For all others, RIV can
be reached by phone, email, fax and snail mail.
They are are usually very courteous, efficient and helpful. They personally answered all my concerns when I imported my
Occasionally RIV even offers seminars on "how to import a vehicle".
RIV manages and publishes "The list". It is the vehicle admissability list. This list outlines what vehicles can and cannot
be brought into Canada (with the intent on registering and driving it in Canada). They do not manage vehicles that are
intended to be used for parts or non-driving static displays.
If your desired car isn't on "the list" it probably can't be imported. If it is, this list will tell you what (if any) modifications
might be required to conform to Transport Canada regulations. RIV needs to approve the vehicle before you can register
it for use in Canada.
Save this weblink. CHECK IT OFTEN! I can't stress this enough.
For a complete list of eligible vehicles and entry requirements, see separate entry on the RIV list of admissible vehicles
found at www.riv.ca
Once you are ready to proceed, in order to enter the program, your vehicle will be subject to a $205 administrative fee.
This fee is used to process your documentation and includes a federal inspection. Upon successfully importing a vehicle,
you will receive a Transport Canada sticker that is affixed to the door jamb of your imported car. That confirms that the
vehicle is safe to drive in Canada and conforms to the most current safety standards.
If you're buying a US-imported car from a private party or dealer in Canada, look for that sticker.
It looks like this:
It's good to know that most Canadian Tire stores
provide the federal inspection. In most cases you
will need to call ahead.
Once you pass the federal inspection, you're free
to proceed with your provincial licensing.
In some jurisdictions, further emission or safety
testing might be required.